Yamat Yan works with World Relief in the Cambodia Teenagers Training program that empowers youth to become leaders and mentors in their communities. Teenagers participate in small groups, volunteer in the AIDS visitation program, and adopt “brothers and sisters” to mentor and care for.Here, Yamat shares why he cares so much for the youth of Cambodia:
Every day I travel with my team to the villages in Kandal province to lead teenage education programs in the communities. We fellowship with the teenagers, mentor them, and mobilize them to action.
Cambodian teenagers deal with intense social, familial, financial, emotional, and healthy pressures. Though they are young, many of my students face marriage soon and need to provide for their family. Some of them work in harsh factory conditions or risk trafficking and exploitation when they leave the province in search of employment. Our curriculum reflects this intense context while communicating hope and joy in Jesus Christ.
I am sensitive to the issues of teenagers because I remember the transformation I underwent at the age of 16, when I came to know Jesus Christ. My family was strongly Buddhist, so my father threatened to beat me or even kill me if I went to church. I was afraid, but my love for Jesus kept me going. I would secretly meet with Christians to learn about God, and I continued to go to worship services, even though I was busy with work and university.
My heart goes out to the youth of Cambodia, and I face their problems every day as if they were my own. I love them all so much, and I love to see them spread hope to the rest of their community.
I want to see all of the villages of Cambodia transformed by Jesus Christ, and I know He can work even through me and through teenagers.
To learn more about the work in Cambodia, click here.
photos by Lynn Jue